Police Run On Dunkin’

During the Boston Marathon bombers manhunt last week, the only business that was allowed to stay open was Dunkin Donuts.  I guess what they say is true; police really do love coffee and donuts.

However during this time of tragedy and uncertainty for New England’s core city, Dunkin became a safe haven for many commuters and travelers who became stranded when the T shut down early Friday morning.  They served anyone who came in “whether they were looking for a cup of Joe or a place to charge a phone”.  It was at the direction of authorities that “select Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the Boston area are open to take care of needs of law enforcement and first responders”.

An open Dunkin’ Donuts shop at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Boston Street in Dorchester offered a welcome glow during the lock-down. Boston Globe

An open Dunkin’ Donuts shop at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Boston Street in Dorchester offered a welcome glow during the lock-down. Boston Globe

A definite stereotype of cops loving coffee and donuts, but Dunkin’ was there when the first responders really needed it.  Dunkin’ Donuts has done a great job of maintaining their reputation as an American staple with their slogan, as of 2006 being “America Runs On Dunkin”.  Traditionally cops have been associated with donuts and coffee as in many areas, the donut shop is the only pace that is open 24 hours a day, and donuts give a quick burst of energy with their small pack of sugar and carbohydrates.

This stereotype has continually been instilled in minds as true throughout pop culture.  Chief Wiggum from The Simpson’s is a prime example, even eating donuts off of his own gun.

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However, truly recognizable as a New England business (I know that I’ve crossed into New England boundaries when Dunkin’ beats out Starbucks on the highways pit stop signs), Dunkin’ Donuts continues to connect with their area of origin.  Founded in 1950 in Quincy Massachusetts and now based in Canton, MA Dunkin’ uses local sports teams to promote their products.  At the start of the 2012 baseball season, Dunkin’ and the Red Socks teamed up to start the season off right.  A “Red Socks Breakfast Runs on Dunkin” stared Jacoby Ellsbury, center fielder, and team manager Bobby Valentine.  The two answered questions and drank iced coffee together in front of a group of loving fans.

Dunkin’ is definitely doing something right.  Cops love them and Dunkin’ knows when to send out support.  And who says coffee and donuts can’t go a long way!

NP 4/23

Four Bucks and Unsnobby Coffee

Hi my name is Julia, I am a senior in college and I am addicted to coffee… and I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.

Coffee is an integral part of my life.  Sometimes the only reason I can pull myself out of bed is because I know that in the next five minutes I can have a steaming hot, delicious cup of coffee.  It wakes me up, it tastes delicious, and I love it!

Out to brunch, ordered coffee - duh

Out to brunch, ordered coffee – duh

As a college student coffee is a major factor in my food and drink budget.  I save some money by buying coffee in bulk and making it at home before my walk up the hill for class.  But sometimes I like to treat myself to some really good high quality coffee, and when I treat myself I consider a trip to Fourbucks… I mean Starbucks!  I am not a complicated orderer (no double shot mochiatto with soy for me, I stick with a plain latte) but I can definitely appreciate a good cup of coffee.  However, within the past few years Starbucks has taken some heat, and gained a little competition when it comes to “specialty” coffee.

Back in 2008 McDonalds threw their hat into the coffee battle, putting up billboards such as “four bucks is dumb” and “large is the new grande”.  Highlighting Starbucks’ weak points, complicated names and expensive drinks, McDonalds opened up the playing field for coffee on the go.

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Now serving espresso, McDonalds is taking the approach that coffee doesn’t have to be complicated.  Small, medium and large, there is no new name for what size you order, and they’re keeping the price low.

However Starbucks didn’t feel the need to fight back.  Wanting to attract a specific customer who wants to pay for the full price of coffee (from the farm to the cup) they are sticking with their prices and their signature brand.

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Yet the two brands are so vastly different, perhaps there is no need for them to fight!  McDonalds prides itself on being quick (hello drive through!) dirt cheap, and easy to order, but typically hides where their products come from and how they are treated.

Starbucks targets its audience with high-end ingredients and froo froo coffee, but also at a price that reflects the fair trade qualities the ingredients they source cover as well as their signature style, and it can be intimidating for people who just want a basic cup of coffee (small or tall, medium or grande = help!?)

Today Starbucks is trying to rebrand themselves yet again to set themselves apart within the competitive coffee world.  What do you think?  Is Starbucks worth the extra money, or is McDonalds good enough?

NP 4/2